Fear & Trembling by Robert Bloch

(No Series)
Horror, Anthology

An anthology written by Robert Bloch.

Robert Bloch is well-known for his fascinating stories and writing ability. His writing really does deserve this reputation, too, as reading his stuff is addicting. He has a natural way with his wording that instantly sucks a reader in and never lets go until the pages are finished. It is this that makes the book so great - an unusual ensemble of genre stories which offers everything from chuckles and giggles to squeamishness and eye-rolls.

Not every story is a winner, of course, and there are some lackluster ones which made me wonder where Bloch was going. In fact, despite the horrorish cover and the horror name, this book primarily focuses on Bloch's short, bizarre comedy pieces.

The first tale is pure horror that sells itself a bit short with a cheesy ending in The Yougoslaves. It appears to me that Bloch was freewriting this one and didn't have it pre-planned, packing on an ending which made sense to him once he got to it. A Most Unusual Murder didn't do too well with holding my interest, and The Brood of Bubastis never wooed me with it's attempted comedy.

Groovyland is the first of two alien comedy pieces, both quite similar to each other but with different outcomes and settings. In both tales an alien has come to Earth and humor is to had. In Groovyland the ending is an ironic laugh, and the alien is named, of all things, "Drool." In the second alien tale (toward the end of the book), it excelled more on being naturally funny and not as forced. In that one the alien makes a bundle of himself at a sci-fi convention but never to his awareness.

Floral Tribute was a bit predictable but interesting. I wish it were longer. Bloch really does SHORT short stories. Reaper was creative and a unique twist on a reaper tale. I'd love to have seen this as a full fledged novel, there was much that could have been done with it. The Shrink and the Minx was pure comedy and funny, tongue-in-cheek enjoyment. Both great stories. Bloch writes horror and novelty humor well.

A killing market held a clever twist. Again not horror, more of a suspense noirish type. Again Bloch's writing style fits perfectly with pretty much anything he's trying to write. The writing tone made me fall into the story completely, but I was left confused at the end. Was his bizarre theory right, or is he dead in some other dimension and doesn't know it? I will never know...

Overall it's an enjoyable tale and the stories are not in any way connected. For sure a collection from a master - displaying in each originality and imagination. Sure, not every one is an award-winning, but still they are all written with a talented hand that clearly enjoys what it does.

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